Famous win for Zim Junior Sables

Zimbabwe Under-20 …………………………………….. (16) 38

 USA…………………………………………………………. (14) 37

Zimbabwe registered their first victory of the 2023 Junior World Rugby Trophy when they managed a one-point win over the United States of America (USA) at Nyayo National Stadium on Tuesday.

It was the Junior Sables’ third victory in the competition’s history, and the first since the 2012 edition when they beat Russia 22-10, ironically, in the United States.

However, the latest victory could prove to be the most important, as it sees the team avoid fighting for survival during the final fixtures on July 30.

The USA deserve some credit,  as they made the Junior Sables sweat.

Tries from Hayden Mckay and John Wilson – both converted by flyhalf Oliver Cline – saw the Americans rush to a 14-nil lead inside the first 20 minutes of the game.

However, De Souza’s men responded with a try from Simbarashe Kanyangarara and the boot of Benoni Nhekairo, who chipped in with three penalties and a conversion to see off the first half with scores at 16-14 in the Junior Sables’ favour.

Much like the first half, the Americans were first off the blocks after the breather, as Cline added three penalties of his own and two conversions from Mckay and Rand Santos’ tries.

At this juncture, the Americans seemed to be cruising to victory as they held a comfortable lead with the clock running out.

Zimbabwe would, fortunately, have the last say as a late blitz saw replacement Brendan Marume score a brace, while Shadreck Mandaza added another.

Nhekairo added another penalty and conversion, while Mandaza put the exclamation point on the victory when he converted his own try.

Zimbabwe are now set to play hosts Kenya in the fifth and sixth play-off on Sunday, but both nations are assured of yet another dance in the second-tier competition next year.

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